Germany's Best Young Brewer Sees Craft as "Beer Abuse"

Discussion in 'Germany' started by herrburgess, Dec 28, 2018.

  1. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,076) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina

  2. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,117) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    We need to start using the phrase "Lieblingsbier" much more often. :slight_smile:

    "People give the impression of reinventing beer because different hop varieties are crossed and honey or Cucumbers are added - for me that's beer abuse ... So many flavors can be created that you do not need any additives.*":grin:

    *Using water, malted barley and wheat, hops, and yeast.
    #2 steveh, Dec 29, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2018
    NeroFiddled, Amendm and herrburgess like this.
  3. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,076) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina

    The kids are alright....
    barrybeerdog, spartan1979 and steveh like this.
  4. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,390) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    Good article. Would like to revisit Wagner.
    herrburgess likes this.
  5. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (10,441) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    I mostly agree with him. Many American breweries have jumped the shark, and lots of these gimmicky beers aren't really that good; but I also believe that there really is a time and place for every beer so there's that. I'm all for experimentation and moving forward but some of the beers we're making are ridiculous. I should also note, I am a huge fan of German beers.
  6. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,761) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Jim, the ‘good news’ is that even in the US where craft beer is very popular we can also drink high quality German style beers!

    In another hour I will be attending German New Year’s Eve at Workhorse Brewery:

    · We’ll have an emphasis on our German lineup, including Helles, Marzen, Vienna Lager and our new Doppelbock

    · All-you-can-eat German fare prepared by world-class German Chefs. Wild Blue Creative Catering has provided a menu including German classics like Schweinbraten, Frankfurters, Weisswurst, Spätzle, German potato salad and of course, bavarian pretzels to pair with your beer.

    Prost & Frohes neues Jahr !
    drtth and boddhitree like this.
  7. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (2,285) May 30, 2005 Michigan

    Happy Silvester! (I just learned that phrase today from a former German exchange student.)
  8. boddhitree

    boddhitree Zealot (512) Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    This article was highly discussed in a Facebook forum I'm a member of: (Craft-) Bier im deutschsprachigen Raum. Most there commented rightly IMO that the "young gun brewer" is an idiot who had no idea what he was talking about, is supremely prejudiced, and not to be taken seriously. Here's a link to the discussion.
    My favorite comment: "He's 20 years and he's just got his degree, what do you expect?"

    In all, I think this article's a good thing because it furthers discussion about not only Craft Beer in Germany, but what makes good beer vs. bad. Also, it's kind of Trumpian where bad news is simply another way to get your ideas out in the public by stirring up controversy. I think it'll get people to try more Craft and hopefully also more excellent examples of traditional styles of German beer.
  9. Snowcrash000

    Snowcrash000 Meyvn (1,132) Oct 4, 2017 Germany

    Thank you, even though I cannot seem to access this discussion without a Facebook account. After all it's not like a fear of creativity and innovation are actually a good thing, no matter how much certain people would like to believe so :rolling_eyes:.

    By the way, where are you located in Germany?
  10. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,117) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Ah yes, the ever-popular "creativity" and "innovation" argument. I guess that all depends on your own interpretation of the definition. I have to agree with the young brewmaster, honey and cucumbers (among some of the other choice additives) in beer do not connote creativity.
    herrburgess likes this.
  11. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,681) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Sometimes people publicly display their lack of understanding of what innovation and creativity actually are, how they actually happen and how they can contribute to change and/or improvement over time. Fortunately that doesn't stop either change or progress.
  12. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,117) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    As someone who worked for 30 years as a "creative," people's perceptions and conclusions about creativity often make me laugh.

    Or wretch.
    herrburgess likes this.
  13. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,076) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina

    To paraphrase a famous conversation with Flannery O'Connor:

    Do you think we are doing enough to encourage creativity?

    I think we may be doing too much.

    steveh likes this.
  14. Crusader

    Crusader Aspirant (247) Feb 4, 2011 Sweden

    I don't disagree with his viewpoint necessarily from a personal perspective (I could survive on pale lager beers alone without thinking twice about it), but I don't think that people being exposed to an idea means that they will heed it, nor do I think it is reasonable to wish for that idea to be silenced, lest too many people be swayed by that idea. If the lack of exposure to the idea is the only thing keeping that idea from gaining ground, then maybe I have a great number of my fellow beer drinkers pegged wrong.

    Even with those idealistic musings above I might still be worried enough to prefer the status quo if I thought my own enjoyment of beer was at risk. But with things the way they are now I don't see cause for alarm. Instead I see plenty of reasons to be excited, and I think the future will hold more excitement in store.
    JackHorzempa likes this.
  15. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,117) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Encouraging true creativity is one thing. Encouraging false creativity is another.

    I can't tell you how many graphic artists I've seen over the years who should have been told a long time back that they needed to pursue another line.

    Same with brewing -- throwing odd ingredients at a recipe is not innovative. You may get lucky here and there, but more often you end up with mud.
    Nickwierda and herrburgess like this.
  16. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,076) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina

    On a more serious note: I read a piece today where the author surmises that what was once considered beer creativity may soon be come known as beer survival. In other words, consumers will continue to demand new flavors and brewers who are trying to compete in an ever more crowded field will have no choice but to put extra flavors in their beer in order to simply sell enough to survive. Matter of fact, this is already happening to a degree at our host brewery. Interesting thought....

    EDIT: the author was referring to the US, of course, and not Germany or other beer cultures
    steveh likes this.
  17. einhorn

    einhorn Aspirant (275) Nov 3, 2005 California

    Care to elaborate?
    herrburgess likes this.
  18. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,076) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina

    they received a free sample box of Amoretti extracts a while back (as many brewers did) and decided to try them out. now customers demand that they serve the popular mixes as well as create new ones. now the base beers hardly sell while the mixes move much quicker
  19. einhorn

    einhorn Aspirant (275) Nov 3, 2005 California

    So is the brewer adding to beer, or do the patrons add on their own?
    herrburgess likes this.
  20. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,076) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina

    brewer is
  21. einhorn

    einhorn Aspirant (275) Nov 3, 2005 California

    @herrburgess now you're confusing me Scott. We all know that you are a "purist" when it comes to beer, as many Germanophiles are, and now you're telling us you caved in to market demands and the consumer screaming for MOAR?

    Don't get me wrong - when I started my contract brewing business 10 years ago, I was a "purist" too, but I found that most craft drinkers didn't want pilsner, hefeweizen and doppelbocks - so I began brewing IPAs too. Because I had to to survive. We have had many discussions here in regards to this topic, and I find it hard to believe that you are now adding adjuncts to your core beers. I guess I'm more shocked than anything.
  22. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,076) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina

    oh...not me. the brewery where bierkeller brews (and to their beers, not mine). sorry if I confused
  23. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,117) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Was that the article talking about how consumers fast become bored with beer? I read the headline and didn't want to continue.
    herrburgess likes this.
  24. einhorn

    einhorn Aspirant (275) Nov 3, 2005 California

    herrburgess likes this.
  25. biermark

    biermark Initiate (67) Sep 9, 2008 South Carolina

    I stopped into Maisel in Bayreuth back in Nov. Here are the tap handles. I apologize for the poor pic.
    Note there are only 2 "traditional" Maisel taps, at his shoulder; weisse and dunkle, The place is beautiful, a contemporary Ami style, big money craft place. Look at all of the pales and hoppy biers.... @BayernTrips has said a younger son is in charge and is doing this as a survival method. We sat right at the bar and more people were getting mixed drinks than bier.

    I asked for my weisse in a flasche and they looked at me like I was deppert.
  26. einhorn

    einhorn Aspirant (275) Nov 3, 2005 California

    Jeff Maisel's mom is an American, he has been exposed to US craft for a while now and was (is) one of the forerunners in that category in they generally get a lot of accolades from the German crafties.
    boddhitree and JackHorzempa like this.
  27. Snowcrash000

    Snowcrash000 Meyvn (1,132) Oct 4, 2017 Germany

    They have their own craft beer off-shoot, Maisel & Friends, under which they release all their modern craft beer stuff. Their standard offerings actually represent the best value for money when it comes to craft beer in Germany, especially their very old school APA and IPA, which remind me a lot of of SNPA and Lagunitas IPA.

    These, along with the Choco Porter and Citrilla Wheat Ale (which reminds me a lot of Lagunitas Sumptin' Sumptin') are also pretty much the only craft beer options in Germany that are available in American-style 6-packs.

    Some of their seasonal and special releases are really nice as well.
    einhorn, jonb5, drtth and 1 other person like this.
  28. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,254) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado

    I've heard this from several places out here. They started off making "fun" beers for things like Firkin Friday or events and now that's all people want. There are some places that have full-on abandoned even well-received traditional beers because they don't sell.
    I hope there is still a place for normal well made beers in 5-10 years.
  29. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,076) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina

    Firkin Friday is exactly what our host brewery started doing and then, due to popularity, continued in bigger and bigger batches
  30. einhorn

    einhorn Aspirant (275) Nov 3, 2005 California

    But isn't that already happening? Not sure about you, but at least here in California it is the best time EVER to be be a beer drinker in America. Retailers working hard to offer FRESH beer, experimental beer, local beer from people you may even know, more imports at our fingertips, traditional styles with interesting hop usage (see my Full Sail Cascade Pilsner), 75% of Americans living within 10 miles of a local brewery, events, tastings, education to the general population, etc. Sure, there's average beer out there too, but the capitalistic market takes care of bad businesses. Why such gloom and doom?
    boddhitree likes this.
  31. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,254) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado

    I think it's more of an issue with the drinkers than the brewers. With the current wave of drinkers, I don't feel that they appreciate a lot of styles. Dare I say it, most styles. It's always about adding flavorings or putting everything in a barrel. It has become genuinely difficult to get a normal craft brewed stout, amber, witbier, bitter, etc. The Denver beer Facebook group legitimately has hundreds of people that think Koelsch is supposed to have flavorings added to it. Sours seem to be the one sacred element. I think there is a weird romantic obsession with Lambic or something. I appreciate that, but find it peculiar that it doesn't seem to apply to any other beer tradition.
    There has never been a time where people have had access to more good beer - there's no question about that. I just see potential for lots of styles (and ones I like) dying in the process.
    boddhitree and thesherrybomber like this.
  32. einhorn

    einhorn Aspirant (275) Nov 3, 2005 California

    @Domingo Which styles are you in fear of seeing die off?
  33. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,254) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado

    I'd say the ones I see in danger are most of the original American craft styles like American amber/red, porter, stout, blonde, etc.
    While styles like Koelsch and alt are safe in their homeland, over here alt might as well not exist and there are more fruited Koelsch style ales than "real" ones.
    I recently had a discussion with a friend about a beer being called a pilsner even though it was brewed entirely and double dry hopped with 2 varieties of tropical New Zealand hops. It's a good beer, but it isn't a pilsner. That's a conservative example, too. There are places calling lagers brewed with all sorts of things pilsners. Every time a place does that, we're closer to that style losing its meaning. Right now everything has to have a twist and there are more twist versions that normal ones. Those beers might be good. Some might even be great, but I don't want to lose the original because the general public got a wild hair about the word "creativity." I keep thinking back to an old episode of the Simpsons when Homer was given the ability to design a car based upon what every consumer wants. That's what a lot of the beer market is to me. We're entering the Bartles and Jaymes phase and I hope we make it through.
  34. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,761) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    It appears to me that the variety of 'traditional' beers being available is a regional issue. I can report that in SEPA there are ever increasing choices of beer style like Helles, Pilsner (brewed with noble hops), Kolsch, etc. There are small, local breweries opening on what seems like a weekly basis and they are producing these beers.

    I already posted in this thread about the new local brewery of Workhorse Brewing which produces a variety of beer styles but the majority are German 'traditional' beer styles.

    Can the SEPA market continue to support so many breweries producing German 'traditional' beer styles?

    I will again attend the Eight Annual German Bierfest hosted by German Society of PA - 611 Spring Garden St. Philadelphia, PA 19123 and let you know.


    P.S. I reported about the recent German New Year's event here:
    einhorn likes this.
  35. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,761) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Another small, local brewery that I visited for the first time last weekend was Locust Lane. One of the beers available on tap was their Kolsch. That beer had a pleasant bready malt flavor. One of the brewers was working the bar at the tap room and I asked about the grain bill. He informed me that the majority of the grain bill was Weyermann Pilsner Malt. He then stated they used the Wyeast Kolsch yeast (2565). They did a nice job with this beer.

    I will have to revisit Locust Lane someday.


    P.S. This brewery has been open 2 years.
  36. einhorn

    einhorn Aspirant (275) Nov 3, 2005 California

    Agree to disagree. As with many things, people always come back to the common denominator, and reports of their death has been drastically overrated. The simple amber ale, the Czech pilsner and everyday 5% dry stout will always win in the end, and sell very well in most local breweries I frequent. The over-the-top stuff gets the buzz, but folks still feel safe ordering something they can trust.
    steveh and drtth like this.
  37. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,117) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    I like this outlook and will use it as my sextant while navigating the shelves over the next year.

    But I have to call out the Czech Pilsner analogy as almost everyone I've tried that was labeled Czech or Bohemian was really a German Pils. Or APA. :wink:
    herrburgess likes this.